Lee Daniels‘ “Precious” got a rare standing ovation last night at the New York Film Festival. This is the powerful indie film starring Mariah Carey, who does a wonderful job as a Harlem social worker. She is so inside the character of Mrs.Weiss, with a Long Island accent and no makeup, some fans may have to be convinced it’s the pop singer.

But “Precious” is notable for the performances of Gabby Sidibe,who plays Precious, and Mo’Nique, who steals the film as Precious’s abusive mother, Mary.

As usual Mo’Nique was not in attendance. This time the excuse given was that it was the birthday of her toddler twins. Whatever. Mo’Nique had better get with the program. Everyone else from this movie showed up last night, including Mariah, Lenny Kravitz, and Sherri Shepherd. Even Robert DeNiro has been supporting wife Grace Hightower, who has one memorable scene in the film. He’s gone to all the premieres.

In the audience, besides DeNiro: Jane Fonda and heavyweight record producer beau Richard Perry, Steve Buscemi and wife Jo, Queen Latifah, Harvey Keitel, Gayle King, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, and Chic producer Nile Rodgers (”We Are Family.”)

At the jam-packed party at the Oak Room in the Plaza Hotel, Mary J. Blige appeared with one of the most obnoxious bodyguards ever. He made a big deal of protecting her from…no one. No one cared that she was there. And we thought she was all about “No More Drama.” Ironically, it wasn’t even Mary J. that people wanted to see, but Gabby Sidibe, the star of the movie.

Mariah Carey made a five-minute pit stop at the party, then took off.

“Precious” is clearly the indie sleeper of the year. When it finally arrives in November, expect big audiences. And Oscar nominations in January for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actress (Gabby Sidibe), and one or more Supporting Actresses (Mariah, Mo’Nique). Lee Daniels has really crafted an emotional rollercoaster in “Precious,” one that never fails to be totally involving. “Precious” is unsparing but it’s also absent of cliche. How refreshing. It’s completely original. No one will want to miss it.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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